Govt puts $1b in Housing Infrastructure Fund
The Government has announced a $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to ensure houses are built faster in areas they're needed most.
Prime Minister John Key made the announcement at the annual National Party conference around 11:45am.
"The contestable fund will be open to councils in high growth centres - currently Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland, he says.
"We can't allow the inability for the councils to fund the infrastructure to stop the houses being built."
"This is just a way for us, essentially up front financing that, and as the development contributions come in and the rates come in, eventually they can repay us."
It'll be available for councils in areas of need to accelerate the building of roads, as well as expand water and waste water systems to new housing areas.
The policy will require the Government to temporarily ditch its plans to pay down debt, adding $1 billion to the net borrowings. It's expected to take 10 years to pay the loan off.
According to Mr Key, the initiative builds on Government's efforts to increase the supply of houses.
"We want more houses built so first home buyers can get a foot on the property ladder, so people who work hard can reward themselves with a place they can be proud to call home and so tenants have more options have more options for good rental properties.
"And we want more built so our most vulnerable have a safe, warm and dry place to call home to help get them back on their feet and help themselves."
The Government received intense scrutiny over its response to the ongoing housing crisis. House prices in Auckland average just under $1 million resulting in an increase in homelessness.
The announcement comes only hours after Labour leader Andrew Little released a press release slamming its opposition for leaving vulnerable people behind.
"The share of the economy going to middle New Zealand is set to drop to new lows, with working families missing out on $100 a week by 2020."
According to Treasury figures middle New Zealand will receive just 36 percent of the proceeds of growth by 2020, compared to 51 percent under the last Labour Government. That's $100 a week that families are worse off.
"Before the Budget, Labour revealed that under John Key, working families are already $50 a week worse off thanks to the decline in their share of growth.
"New statistics this week revealed growing inequality in New Zealand, with the top 10 percent now owning almost 60 percent of our national wealth. This will only get worse as middle New Zealand's share of the economy continues to shrink under National.
"It is clear that National's economy is not delivering for most New Zealanders, because they are too focused on looking after the few at the top… This is not the New Zealand we want. The only way to turn it around is to change the Government."